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Three shot in factory workers protest

Former Minister of Labour and Employment Keketso Rantšo


April 23, 2021 2 min read

2 min read


THREE people were shot by police on Wednesday during a protest in which factory workers from Maseru demanded that government releases a gazette that was approved in 2020 recommending a seven percent increase in their salaries.

Workers argued that since then, government has remained mum about the gazette that was approved by the former Minister of Labour and Employment Keketso Rantšo who was sacked earlier this year.  

Ms Rantšo was axed following a series of protests from the very same factory workers who demanded that she be relieved from her duties.

On Wednesday, scores of workers decided to down tools and picket outside of their respective work places, demanding their long awaited salary hikes.

However, police disrupted the protest, injuring three people – it later emerged that one of the injured people was a street vendor who was selling their in the street.

According to the Democratic Union of Lesotho (IDUL) who are organisers of the mass action, the shooting was uncalled for.

The secretary general of the association May Rathakane revealed in an interview with Metro that the workers want the government to release the 2020 gazette that would see them getting a seven percent salary adjustment.

“Workers want salary increase that was recommended by the employers in 2020. The employers agreed to a seven percent increase while the workers demanded a 20 percent hike,” Mr Rathakane said.


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For this year, employers are only promising a slight 3 percent adjustment for factory workers and a 2 percent increase for the other groups.

IDUL says workers see this as unfair considering that food prices for instance, have been increasing since last year.

As it stands, a factory worker with more than one year working experience earns around M2 100, while those with less than a year experience earn around M1 900 per month.

Mr Rathakane said they were able to meet the current Minister of Labour who promised to speed up the process of publishing the 2020 gazette.

Going forward, he said his union will get direction from workers on whether the protest continues or wait on the government.

 

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